Should you optimize your web site for demand/lead generation or for branding? This session on search engine optimization by Barbara Coll of Webmamma and Rob Garner of Agency.com covered the basics of both.
Pay per click can help your organic search results in two ways:
- Use pay per click to test keyword conversions and ad text
- Pay per click using the best performing organic search phrases can increase the click through rates on the organic listings
Barbara Coll covered the basics of SEO (search engine optimization) by focusing on getting the “team” that will be involved in the site optimization project whether you need to convince them with facts or just bribe them.
Keyword research is critical to make sure you are focusing on the right phrases that generate the most traffic at the highest conversion rates. Use software, internal team brainstorming or web logs to generate keyword lists. Then use PPC to test them.
It’s also important to make sure your web site is search engine friendly using a combination of clean urls, a site map, text links and paid inclusion. Coll emphasized the importance of content since search engines favor abundant, fresh content in search engine rankings.
Rob Garner focused more on branding objectives for search engine optimization including placing your company name first in all title tags as well as throughout the site. Garner cited work he’s done that has resulted in higher organic click throughs as a result of running PPC ads at the same time as organic SEO since more screen real estate is occupied by your listings and the user has a greater opportunity for brand interaction.
Smart link building is also critical for effective rankings and Garner pointed out the value of using optimized press releases to build links along with purchasing links like media buys. He noted that link buys must be permanent and not CPM, otherwise once your inventory is exhausted, the link goes away and a search engine spider could miss it.
The question and answer session covered rank checking tools WebPositionGold and also how to use RSS for SEO. Although that question was not answered, Coll did comment on the value of blogs from a content perspective.
Overall, this was a good introductory session for SEO and did a great job covering the need for SEO as a lead generation tool as well as for branding. It would be great to see more speakers though as this is a deep subject and multiple perspectives would be very valuable to the audience.